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T. F. Library Report Says 'Depression Reading' Ends

Circulation Back to Normal---Report Omitted From Town Volume As Result of Misunderstanding

TURNERS FALLS- If the number of people using their leisure time for reading is any index of economic conditions, then the depression is over as far as the Carnegie public library is concerned. The circulation, which was extremely high during the past two years, has dropped back to normal, and the reading rooms are seldom crowded, according to information contained in the annual report of the librarian, Miss Edith L. Barber, made public for the first time today. Owing to a misunderstanding, this report was not included in the annual town reports.

The total circulation in 1934 was 56,854, a decrease from the previous year, when circulation mounted to 64,485. Adult fiction circulation was 30,900, whereas in 1933 it had been 46,884. During the worst years of the depression, according to the librarian, townspeople apparently found reading the most economical means of amusement, and the library was in constant use, with the reading room crowded both morning and evening. Even juvenile fiction circulation, usually a constant gainer, showed a distinct decline, dropping form 10,105 in 1933 to 9,720 in 1934.

Circulation was at its highest in March of last year, when 5,665 books were taken from the library while the lowest month was September, with a circulation of 3,550. On Jan. 1, 1934, there were 13,661 books on hand, with 925 being added during the year. A total of 1,361 were discarded, leaving on the shelves at the first of this year a total of 13,225 volumes. Miss Barber stated that approximately 2,300 borrowers' cards were in use, with one card sometimes serving several readers.

"Crowded conditions still presist, however," says the report, "and although a great deal of weeding out of old books has been done, it is often had to find a place for returned books, to kept the library in an orderly condition."

Books removed from the shelves are disposed of in various ways. Some are merely worn out and thrown away, while a few others, of no interest, meet the same fate. Others, which were once popular and might still be wanted occasionally, are stored away, and the fact recorded on the cards. A number of books have also been loaned to the Millers Falls? And Bernardston libraries, as well as to the Montague city school.

Gifts of books and magazines during the year came from the drama committee of the Woman's club, Mrs. Frederick Chapin of Gill, Mrs. James A. Gunn, Miss Marguerite Farren, J. E. Waterhouse, Donald Smith, Mrs. H. R. Sargent, Mrs. Richard Stoughton, and Miss Margaret Berard.

"Attention is also called, "said Miss Barber, "to the fine pictures purchased for teachers' use. They have not had the circulation they deserved."

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The Great Depression exerted unforeseen influences on American culture and politics. It encouraged new experiments in public policy and forced Americans to question traditional beliefs and habits. This article suggests that the depression may have encouraged Americans to read more. Circulation of books rose dramatically during the early years of the depression and the reading room was crowded day and night. Although the article suggests that "depression reading" ended in 1934, the depression itself was far from over. It would last until the beginning of the Second World War in 1939.

 

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"T. F. Library Report Says 'Depression Reading' Ends" article from Greenfield Daily Recorder-Gazette newspaper

publisher   Greenfield Daily Recorder-Gazette
date   Mar 22, 1935
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
height   8.0"
width   4.5"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L08.024


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See Also...

Excerpt from diary of Clara Alquist-Sherman regarding The Great Depression

"Arms Faculty Voluntarily Accepts Salary Reduction" article from the Greenfield Daily Recorder-Gazette newspaper

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